Tuesday 27 September 2016

Meet our globe-trotting champion sheep shearer

Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30

First lady Sabina Higgins pets a sheep freshly shorn by world record holder Ivan Scott at the Ploughing. Photo: Steve Humphreys
First lady Sabina Higgins pets a sheep freshly shorn by world record holder Ivan Scott at the Ploughing. Photo: Steve Humphreys

There are only about half-a-dozen Irish people who make their living by travelling around the globe shearing sheep.

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World champion sheep shearer Ivan Scott (35) from Kilmacrennan, Co Donegal is one of them.

Deftly stripping a sheep of its fleece before the eyes of President Michael D Higgins was "no pressure at all" in comparison to the usual conditions, he quipped.

"I don't know if I'd be trusted to have a go at it myself," the President admitted.

Scott spends half the year in Ireland and the rest "chasing the season" around the globe - shearing sheep from Switzerland to New Zealand.

Working in 45C heat in the Australian Outback has been a career highlight.

"I do enjoy it but it's getting tougher to do all this travelling with a family at home," he said, adding that he has a seven-year-old daughter so will probably be spending more time here.

He was declared world champion at a contest in Cornwall in the UK last February, shearing 867 sheep in nine hours.

"It was tough mentally and because of the conditions too," he revealed, adding that the contest was held up for three days because of rain.

He also holds the Irish record, shearing 820 ewes in nine hours - but he says the chances of the World Championship coming here is not possible because "we don't have enough sheep and we don't have the right sheep."

"The breed is wrong," he explained.

Irish Independent

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